News Alert No.52: North Korea has finished upgrading the Sohae Satellite Launching Station

North Korea

On October 2, The New York Times reports that “recent commercial satellite imagery” are proof “North Korea has completed a yearlong project to upgrade its main satellite launching station, which is widely believed to be a test site for its intercontinental ballistic missile program”. The same source mentions that the upgrade process included “modifying the […]

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News Alert No.49: Islamic extremist groups in the Greater Middle East: Islamic State loses strategic border crossing. Taliban twin suicide attack in Kabul

http://tinyurl.com/kjkbryo

On September 30, Iraqi Kurdish fighters drove the Islamic State (ISIL) from a major border crossing with Syria: according to The New York Times, “in a predawn push, […] forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government fought their way into the Rabia district, near the Syrian border, seizing control of two villages by late morning and, […]

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News Alert No.48: Afghanistan to sign security agreement allowing U.S. troops to stay after 2014

http://tinyurl.com/kjblwmt

A deal between Afghanistan’s government, led by the new president, Ashraf Ghani and the U.S. is due to be signed on September 30, which will allow some foreign troops to remain in the country beyond 2014. “Ghani’s predecessor, Hamid Karzai, had long refused to agree to the deal, citing his anger over civilian deaths and […]

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News Alert No.44: Massive Taliban attack on Ajrestan district, not far from Kabul

Taliban attack on Ajrestan district

Taliban insurgents have taken control of Ajrestan, a strategic district in the Afghan province of Ghazni on the night of September 25, after approximately five days of battles. Reuters reports that “an estimated 700 Taliban fighters” were involved, while “more than 100 people” were killed, “including 15 who were beheaded by the militants”[1]. According to […]

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News Alert No.39: U.N. Security Council adds 16 names to its al-Qaida sanctions list. Islamic State leader also targeted.

U.N. Security Council

On September 23, due to French and American proposals, the U.N. Security Council’s Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee added 14 individuals and two groups to its list. All of them are subjected to “arms embargo, global travel ban and asset freeze”. The individuals are “extremist fighters, fundraisers and recruiters tied to militant groups in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, […]

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News Alert No.37: Russia: The Vostok-2014 military large-scale exercises are under way

Siberia

Large-scale Russian military drills, known as the Vostok-2014 are currently ongoing. The exercises began on September 19 and “are to continue until September 25 with the participation of 100,000 soldiers, thousands of tanks and aircraft, and tens of ships”. The drills have “unfolded on Sakhalin Island and in Primorsky and Kamchatka Territories”, as well as […]

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News Alert No.34: John Kerry and Iranian counterpart discuss nuclear talks and the threat posed by the Islamic State

John Kerry and Iranian counterpart

On September 21, the U.S. Secretary of State met the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in New York “and stressed the need to make progress in nuclear negotiations this week on the sidelines of UN meetings”; the two officials “also discussed the threat posed by Islamic State  militants in Syria and Iraq”[1], Reuters reports. […]

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